The foundations managed by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s children made a fortune that amounts to billions of USD in the last couple of years.
Turkey’s wealthiest businessmen are lining up to donate to TURKEN and ENSAR foundations, which are owned by the Erdoğan family.
Erdogan regime encountered two significant graft probes in 2013, on December 17 and 25. In a bid to dodge the charges against it, the Erdogan regime called the probes “a judicial coup,” expelled all the cops, judges and prosecutors who took part in the probes, having them arrested on terror charges later on.
Due to the example laid bare, currently, no prosecutor ever dares to launch a graft probe against Erdogan administration.
Even if there are no probes launched against corruption allegations, Turkey falls back in the corruption index every year.
The latest corruption scandal landed amid the rescue efforts for the victims of the quake that struck the eastern city of Elazığ recently, taking a toll of 42 deaths.
The Red Crescent of the country (Kızılay) started a fund-raising drive for the quake victims. However, there was already a big jump in the numbers Kızılay received in the last few years.
A few documents that leaked from the bureaucracy which is under immense pressure from the government illustrated that Kızılay served as a cover for the donations made to Erdoğan family’s foundations.
Business people who received tenders from the state had been making donations to Kızılay sealed with conditional protocols. Protocols stipulated that donations should be directed to ENSAR or TURKEN foundations.
This way, business people deduct the money from their bank accounts as deposits to Turkish Red Crescent, but in reality, they give the money to the Erdoğan family.
The first revealed case was about Torunlar Holding. The Başkentgaz company, owned by Torunlar Holding, which won the tender for natural gas distribution to the capital city of Ankara, had donated USD 8 million to Kızılay. There was a catch, though. There was a specification in terms of reference that stipulated the transfer of the donation to the ENSAR foundation exclusively.
ENSAR and TURKEN keep operating as Erdoğan’s long arm abroad. The operations of the Erdoğan regime to found schools and dorms in Africa, America, and Europe are carried out via these two foundations.
The bigger and more complicated case emerged in Istanbul. It was about 96,400 square meters of land located between the two older bridges of Bosphorus valued in billions of dollars.
The land belonged to the Silahtar Abdullah Ağa foundation, which existed since the days of the Ottoman Empire. The government seized the property of the foundation after the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.
Authorities designated this 96,400 square meters land as an assembly area, for it would be a safe space in the case of an earthquake.
In order to build luxury residences on this valuable land, a protocol was signed with KIPTAŞ, the construction organization of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, on February 24, 2012.
KIPTAŞ, on the other hand, shook hands with Torunlar GYO as contractors, the construction company of the Torunlar Holding.
According to the contract, 54,28 percent of the residences to be built on the billions of dollars worth glebe land would belong to Torunlar, 45,72 would belong to KIPTAŞ. The Directorate General of Foundations received nothing as the landowner.
All this info was a secret for the year 2014 because the Erdogan regime had displaced hundreds of judges, prosecutors, and cops that year. The country was in utter silence.
This information comes into light only after years of research conducted.
The corruption aspect of the incident is not only limited to the granting of billions of dollars worth of land owned by the state to the pro-gov’t Torunlar Holding.
After the project had finished, Başkentgaz company granted 31 workplaces to the TURKEN foundation led by Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan.
Torunlar GYO, which undertook the construction project, did not donate directly, not to attract unwanted attention. Başkentgaz bought these places and gave them to TURKEN. Torunlar built 2961 residences and workplaces on the land and constructed the largest media center of the country besides these residences.
The media center, with a 300 thousand indoor space, was given to the pro-Erdogan Sabah daily and ATV channel network owned by the brother of Erdoğan’s son-in-law.
A portion of the land was utilized for a campus of the Bezmi Alem University, which is controlled by President Erdoğan’s spouse Emine Erdoğan.
Donations cover bribery
Instead of the word “bribery,” the word “donation” is trending in Turkey these days. It is almost obligatory for businesses working with the government to donate money to foundations either close to the AK Party government or directly related to the Erdoğan family. These donations are exempt from tax for most of the cases.
The system explained above is not just for big government tenders or lands. The small towns have the same system as well. The local business people who are obliged to do business with the AK Party governed municipalities are compelled to donate to the foundations determined by the municipality. The amounts of these donations are usually fixated to the 20 percent of their estimated profits off the tender at hand.
By CEVHERİ GÜVEN